Roy Exum: Buy A Cup For The Wall

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

I don’t know how we are going to do this or where we are going to do it but I’m “all in.” I have a great friend in Dallas who is keen about the very things that “pull my trigger” and the other day he shared a story that begs to be repeated in every town across our country.

The author of the story is unknown – I’d adore to give him or her credit – but the idea behind it dates all the way back to when the Bible was written. This is just in a modern-day context. All we have to do is find a wall …

* * *

I sat with my friend in a well-known coffee shop in Venice Beach near Los Angeles. As we enjoyed our coffee, a man entered and sat at a table beside us.

He called the waiter and placed his order saying, Two cups of coffee, with one of them for the wall.

We heard this order with rather interest and observed that he was served with one cup of coffee, but he paid for two. As soon as he left, the waiter pasted a piece of paper on the wall saying "A Cup of Coffee."

While we were still there, two other men entered and ordered three cups of coffee, two on the table and one for the wall. They had two cups of coffee but paid for three and left. This time also, the waiter did the same. He pasted a piece of paper on the wall saying, "A Cup of Coffee."

It seemed that this gesture was a norm at this place. However, it was something unique and perplexing for us. Since we had nothing to do with the matter, we finished our coffee, paid the bill, and left.

After a few days, we again had a chance to go to this coffee shop. While we were enjoying our coffee, a man entered. The way this man was dressed did not match the standard nor the atmosphere of this coffee shop.

Poverty was evident from the looks on his face. As he seated himself, he looked at the wall and said, "one cup of coffee from the wall." The waiter served coffee to this man with the customary respect and dignity.

The man had his coffee and left without paying. We were amazed to watch all this when the waiter took off a piece of paper from the wall and threw it in the waste basket. Now the matter was very clear. The great respect for the needy shown by the inhabitants of this town welled up our eyes with tears.

Coffee is not a need of our society, nor a necessity of life. The point to note is that when we take pleasure in any blessing, maybe we also need to think about those people who appreciate that specific blessing as much as we do, but they cannot afford it.

Note the character of this waiter, who is playing a consistent and generous role who helped the needy with a smile on his face. Also ponder upon this man in need. He enters the coffee shop without having to lower his self-esteem asking for a free cup of coffee. He only needs to look at the wall.

Along with the other characters, we need to remember the role played by the wall that reflects the generosity and care of the dwellers of this town.

Let’s start a wall in every coffee shop that’s willing. What an idea! Or is it a blessing?

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